While Cameroon has condemned 89 suspected Boko Haram operatives to death for “terrorism” since the start of 2015, a judicial source said Friday, non has been convicted in Nigeria where the insurgents started their operations with thousands killed and millions displaced.
The High Court had on December 20, 2013, convicted and sentenced Sokoto to life imprisonment after he was found guilty of masterminding the Christmas day bomb blast that killed about 44 persons and wounded 75 others at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church at Madalla, Niger State, in 2011.
And Kabiru Sokoto is the only one who has so far been sent to prison without a death sentence after killing over a hundred persons..
The sentences come after Cameroon adopted a controversial anti-terror law in December 2014 allowing capital punishment for those found guilty of carrying out terror attacks or complicity in terrorism.
Those convicted were mostly arrested on Cameroon’s border with Nigeria, the birthplace of the extremist group that has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) group. Cameroon already had the death penalty for murder, but there have been no executions since the mid-1980s.
Almost 850 people suspected of links to Boko Haram are being held in prison in Maroua, capital of the far north of Cameroon. They include Nigerians and Chadians as well as Cameroonians, according to regional newspaper L’Oeil du Sahel.
Boko Haram violence has left at least 17,000 dead and forced more than 2.6 million from their homes since 2009. And nearly 1,200 people have been killed since the Nigerian fighters took their offensive into Cameroon in 2013, according to government figures.
In recent years, Boko Haram fighters slipped back and forth across the frontier, often using Cameroon’s remote north as a rear base, acquiring arms, vehicles and supplies there.
But since late November, the Cameroon army has carried out operations in several border areas aimed at weakening the Nigerian jihadists.
As a result, the insurgents turned away from direct confrontation with the military in favour of suicide attacks, increasingly carried out by women and girls.